On Friday afternoon, all of the Peace Scholars and our new friends from the Balkans region loaded up a bus and headed for Oslo to the International Summer School (ISS). Here, we will spend the next six weeks engaging in a peace studies course, as well as a course of our choice. The school has attendees from all around the world and focuses on fostering understanding and building relationships between people as evidenced by the school’s motto: “Six Weeks of Academic Achievement and International Good Will”. Although we haven’t experienced classes or their academic rigor, we were immediately welcomed with international good will from everyone we have encountered on the campus.
One way the school works to provide an opportunity to meet and build relationships with one another is through pairing students from different countries to live together. My roommate is from Croatia, which is one of the countries a part of the Balkans region that we learned about in Lillehammer. I am looking forward to engage in dialogue with my roommate about the topics we discussed over the past week at the Nansen Center and learn more about who she is as a person, as well as her culture. Our time together as Peace Scholars in Oslo is brief, but with the interactions we have already experienced I trust that it will be filled with rich and robust learning that will impact far into the future.